Despite accepting Drive to Survive got “lucky” with the Guenther Steiners of the F1 world, Nico Rosberg believes it would be a “horrible disaster” having the cameras in your face during a title fight.
Netflix’s Drive to Survive first aired in 2019 with season one depicting the 2018 World Championship, a campaign that Lewis Hamilton comfortably won after a brief early-season challenge from Sebastian Vettel.
Such has been the success of the series that season six will be released on the streaming service in February next year.
Nico Rosberg: That would have been a disaster
Although it is a controversial series for the drivers, Max Verstappen notably boycotting it for misrepresenting drivers and team members by over-dramatising the story, Drive to Survive has been credited with increasing Formula 1’s fanbase, especially amongst a younger audience.
But while the docuseries is “the first to truly immerse the audience inside the cockpits, the paddock, and the lives of the key players in Formula 1”, Rosberg believes there’s a downside to it, at least for those involved in a tense title fight as he was in 2016.
That season he was up against his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton for the World title where Rosberg was chasing his first while Hamilton was after his fourth.
Such was the intensity of that battle that Rosberg quit the sport just days after winning the championship at the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
He feels having a Netflix camera following his every move that season would’ve been a “disaster”.
“No, no, no, that would be horrible,” he tells City A.M.
“That would have been horrible because it would have taken concentration away from me actually winning the championship. That would have been a disaster.”
The German believes Netflix’s success with the F1 docuseries is in part down to luck given some of the characters in the paddock such as Haas’ sweary team boss Steiner, and of course the Toto Wolff versus Christian Horner verbal spats.
“What F1 did so well with Netflix is that it’s a reality TV show. They got lucky that select individuals like Guenther Steiner or some of the team bosses really accepted to be real, even taking the risks associated with that,” he said.
“Formula 1 has had an incredible increase in viewership thanks to social media and Netflix which has been phenomenal, but also thanks to the new generation, which is a very exciting generation.
“That’s been great to see and all of us are tagging along in that a little bit but Extreme E still needs to find other ways to generate audiences and grow.”
Rosberg is an owner in the latest electric car series with his Rosberg X Racing taking on his former F1 rival Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing team.
“Extreme E is my kind of start as a team boss and owner, it’s been a very successful first three-year journey,” the 38-year-old added.
“My problem is that I’m not ready to dedicate my life to a project like that ever again, as I did as a racing driver, because I appreciate my time at home too much – time with my kids and my wife and my family.
“Life after racing has been a journey of discovery because it was crystal clear before.
“I know that I want to be involved in something that contributes to society, which is why we are doing Extreme E, and which is why I have Rosberg Philanthropies.”